There are two ways to view The Wizard Of Speed And Time, a film I had been eager to see for decades (since I was won over by the trailer). On the one hand, it's an astonishing achievement by writer-director-FX whizz Mike Jittlov. On the other hand, it's an indulgent and messy attempt to create his own legend.
The story is quite simple. Jittlov ends up being asked to make a couple of things on a very limited budget by two Hollywood figures (played by Steve Brodie and Richard Kaye) who are betting against one another. One has faith in him, the other does not, and does all he can to sabotage the process. The other thing sabotaging the process is seen to be the whole system itself, set up to make things as difficult and frustrating for independent film-makers as possible.
Every scene in this movie is almost overflowing with nice little details and special effects. Seriously. Despite the limited budget, Jittlov has made something that's a real treat for fans of the art, often also showing how some of the bigger moments are set up, or at the very least giving enough clues as to what you're about to see happen.
The biggest problem with this movie is something you will often see people mention when criticising much bigger movies, and this doesn't deserve to get any kind of free pass, a film shouldn't be made up of simply special effects. It needs more to it. A decent story (this is far too slight), good acting (more on that in a moment), and a smart script help.
The script has many decent moments but it cannot work around the weakest element of the film, and that is the fact that Mike Jittlov isn't half as funny or endearing as he thinks he is. No offence to the guy, he just doesn't have the charisma to carry the movie.
Having said that, his acting style is not completely out of place with the friends and colleagues he has assembled. Brodie and Kaye do decent work in their roles, and Paige Moore is enjoyable and sweet in her role (playing an actress who befriends Jittlov), but they are the highlights from the main supporting cast members, with one or two individuals highlighting their lack comfort in front of the camera.
My initial reaction to this movie, as the end credits were still rolling, was very negative. I hated it. I felt it was far too smug throughout, and resented the fact that I had spent decades dying to see it. Now? Having calmed down slightly, it's often a treat, and some will love it, but the good stuff is still outweighed my the bad, and that is saying something when you consider how much Jittlov has packed into every frame.
Here's a weird jumble of info and links.
The movie has never been available on disc, as far as I know, but has been put out there to find in lieu of an official release.